Traditional French King Cake (Galette des Rois)
This French king cake recipe has 2 layers of flaky puff pastry filled with frangipane cream. Also known as galette de rois, it is made to celebrate epiphany.
This recipe for Traditional French King Cake is a classic cake made to celebrate epiphany. It is made with homemade puff pastry and filled with almond cream. For the puff pastry you can use this easy rough puff pastry recipe, or you can try and make this homemade puff pastry recipe if you are feeling it! In France the "Galette des Rois" (as it is known here) can be found in all pastry shops throughout the month of January, tradition being that the youngest person in the room hides under the table and names the person who will be having each slice. The person who finds the figurine hidden inside is crowned King! It is made with homemade puff pastry and filled with almond cream filling. For the puff pastry you can use this easy rough puff pastry recipe, or you can try and make this homemade puff pastry recipe if you are feeling it! Can't wait for you to try this recipe!
Ingredient & Material Notes
- Almond cream Filling
- Frangipane cream filling: while this recipe only calls for almond cream, you can replace it with frangipane cream, which is made of 2 parts almond cream + 1 part pastry cream.
- Puff pastry: you can use store-bought puff pastry, or you can make your own. You can either make this rough puff pastry or go for it and make the real deal. Get a guide to make the flakiest handmade puff pastry here.
- Ceramic figurines: this is usually placed inside the galette, hidden in the almond cream. The person who gets the "feve" is then crowned king! This is optional off course, but it is a nice touch!
- Bread scoring knife. Or you can use a small sharp paring knife.
How to make this recipe
To make this tradition King cake you must:
- Roll out the puff pastry and cut to 24 cm rounds.
- Fill the almond cream, hide a figurine inside and top with the second puff pastry round.
- Brush with egg wash and score the top of the King cake.
- Bake and enjoy!
- If you are using store bought puff pastry you don't need to roll it out, but make sure you have enough to cut out 2 24 cm in diameter discs of puff pastry.
- When rolling out the puff pastry make sure you keep your countertop surface lightly floured to prevent the dough from sticking and breaking apart.
- Chill the rolled-out pastry for 30 minutes before cutting out the discs. This will help the layers to grow beautifully in the oven.
- Place an 18 cm cake ring on top of the puff pastry disc and slightly press it down to mark a smaller round, inside of which you will be piping out the almond cream. Make sure not to press too much because you will cut through the puff pastry.
- You can also leave the cake ring on top of the puff pastry, place the almond cream inside, evenly spread it using a spoon or a spatula and then remove the ring.
- When covering the King cake with the second round of puff pastry, make sure the edges of the bottom and top disc are aligned.
- Use both your hands to press around the almond cream to remove air bubbles.
- Turn around the King cake and refrigerate for about 30 min/1 hour before scoring. If the dough is cold and hard, scoring is much easier, and you won't damage the puff pastry.
- Brush with egg wash just before scoring, it helps the knife slide better.
- Traditionally the scoring done to the galette des rois is the one you can see on the photos, but you can do whatever design inspires you.
- When scoring, slightly incline the knife or scoring knife to the side and don't press too hard. You are not supposed to cut through the dough!
- You can paint brush with a light syrup as soon as the king cake is out of the oven to make it shine! This is completely optional but recommended!
This king cake must be kept at room temperature. It keeps for up to 3 days.
However, eating it on the same day is strongly recommended because the puff pastry tends to become less crunchy as days go by.
You can freeze the galette des rois once it is assembled. Wrap in saran wrap, twice or three times, then place in a freezer container and place in the freezer. It lasts for up to 3 months.
To defrost: place overnight in the refrigerator. Then place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and proceed to paint with egg wash, score and bake as instructed in the recipe.
Variations to this recipe
You can make any number of fillings for the galette the rois if you are feeling inspired:
- Replace the almond meal with hazelnut meal for example.
- If you are making a frangipane, you can make the pastry cream a chocolate pastry cream or a dulce de leche pastry cream!
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale
to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA
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Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition: 500 cal
Almond Cream Filling
- 1. Make the almond cream filling: Mix the softened butter with the powdered sugar, the almond meal, and the cornstarch until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one a time until completely incorporated into the cream. Mix in the rum. Set aside.
- 2. Make the egg wash: Whisk together the egg, egg yolk and salt. Strain. Set aside.
- 3. Roll out and cut the puff pastry: Roll out the puff pastry to 3 mm over a lightly floured surface. Place over a tray lined with baking paper, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and cut out 2 circles of 24 cm in diameter, using a sharp knife and pop back in the refrigerator.
- 4. Assemble the French King Cake: Place the almond cream inside a piping bag and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Remove one of the puff pastry rounds from the refrigerator, place over the lined baking tray. Pipe the almond cream in a circular manner, leaving 4 cm from the edge free of cream. Place the ceramic bean inside the almond cream. Brush egg wash over the puff pastry around the pipped almonds cream. Remove the second circle of dough from the refrigerator and place it over the first puff pastry round filled with almond cream. Using your hands press down the dough all around the almond cream to remove air bubbles.
- 5. Bake the French King Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 180 C°. Turn the French king cake around and brush with egg wash. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge, brush once again with egg wash and score the cake using a sharp paring knife or a bread scoring knife. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the cake is golden.
- 6. Finishing touches: While the king cake is in the oven prepare the syrup. Bring the sugar and the water to a boil, then remove from the stove and set aside. Remove the galette des rois from the oven, transfer onto a wire rack and lightly brush the top with the syrup. Let it cool down completely before eating.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!